last updated 6.23.22

June 23, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
"Well, that was disappointing" I said to myself as I was walking into the workshop to grab a cool drink out of my cooler. Then, I just busted out laughing. This happens a lot. As self-absorbed as I probably sound in these writings, the absurdity of my path in life combined with the hope which I still cling to rarely fails to make me laugh. What else can I do? Without a sense of humor, I'd be doomed. To be honest, it's not really a choice. It just happens. Joy happens. The laughter just bubbles out of me whether I want it to or not, which is a good thing. Thank God for that. In this case, it was especially funny because I'd just spent the last couple long days working on my truck, took it for a test drive, yesterday evening, and it sounded just as awful as it had before replacing the transfer case. Oh whelll. To be fair, it was heart crushing as I pulled back down the driveway still coming to terms with this reality and assessing my options, but by this morning I'd accepted my predicament and have decided to wash my hands of it all. Everything. The truck, my sailboat (my only two major possessions left) and trying to fit into a society that seems to be racing down a dead end road with no ability, awareness or concern that not being able to stop might be a problem. Oh whelll.

Hey, ya know what's cool? As I was grabbing what was left of the mango kefir in my cooler, I noticed that the guacamole I'd put in there, yesterday afternoon, still looked fresh and green. I eat a lot of guacamole. Avocados are good for you, but I can rarely eat more than a pound of it in one sitting which is the usual quantity size in the fresh-made containers at the supermarket so the remaining portion always turns an unappetizing dark brown by the time I go to eat it, again. Yuck. So, I scrape the top layer off with a fork and eat what's left as my next meal. Being poor and a health nut don't exactly go hand and hand so I have to make do. But, the other day I grabbed some small reusable plastic containers when I was out doing errands and transferred what was left of my guacamole at lunchtime, yesterday, into one of these smaller containers. I packed it in there good and tight eating whatever didn't fit and slapped on a lid. I had a hunch that it was the air occupying all the extra space in the larger container that caused the guacamole to turn brown. I was right! Today, when I have guacamole for lunch it will look as fresh as it did when I first opened it. Cool beans.

Anyways, the truck is purring like a kitten for whatever that's worth. I just can't drive it anywhere. I decided to tune it up on Monday while I waited for the auto parts place to call. Years ago tune-ups were a much easier task for the average self-motivated person who wanted to work on their own vehicle, but, nowadays, car manufacturers have made it much more difficult. The spark plugs alone are almost impossible to get at. It all comes down to patience and, of course, having the right tools, or making them if you don't. It took a long time for something so simple, but I managed to get all 8 spark plugs out without too much trouble. It looks like the far back one on the passenger side, the hardest to reach, hadn't been changed in a very long time. It had a different part number as the others...and a heli-coil (an additional threaded sleeve when the original threaded spark plug hole in the engine gets damaged) around it. Fun stuff. Whoever worked on this truck in the past must have skipped it rather than go to the trouble of replacing it, again, during previous tune-ups. I had to remove a few other components in the engine compartment to reach it. It was after lunch time and I still hadn't heard from the auto parts store so I called them. They had given me the wrong number to call in the confirmation email they sent me when I purchased the part, last week, but after calling 4 different numbers I finally got through to someone who could tell me what the status on my part was. He told me that it was there waiting to be picked up. In fact, according to him, I could have picked it up last Friday. I told him that I drove there last Fri. and was told that it wasn't ready. Again, he was a nice enough guy so I didn't lean into him, but the incompetence of the company's communication was not exactly confidence inspiring. I headed over the following morning to pick it up.

When I got to the auto parts place, it was surprisingly quiet and there were two people behind the counter this time, the guy I'd met on Fri. who told me that he'd call me personally when my part was ready and a young lady. Neither of them acknowledged my presence as I stood there at the counter. A few minutes passed and I didn't say a word. If I complained or reacted in anyway, it would justify their negative attitudes and I wasn't going to play that game. Eventually, the girl asked "Can I help you?" without looking up. I gave her my work order# and she told me someone would bring the part to the gate outside. I said "Ok", took my recite and left. Not a lot of joy in that interaction. About 15min later, a man on forklift rolled over to "my car" (mr.Fireman's) which had the truck opened and we picked up the "new" transfer case off the forklift pallet and placed it in the trunk beside the old one -they barely fit, but I carefully compared them and they looked the same. On the way home I picked up some new spark plugs, a fuel filter and a couple of socket adapters that would make putting the new plugs in a little easier. What else can a person do, but take a deep breath and keep moving forward? The 2nd Agreement . "Don't take anything personal."

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January 7, 2022, Damon's Point, Marshfield, Massachusetts
It hasn't been an easy first week of the new year, but I'm eager for a fresh start. It started off rough with a sleepless and cold New Year's eve in the driver's seat of the truck. Don't even ask about Christmas Eve. I broke down on the side of the road and had to crawl under the truck in the dark and work on it with cars whizzing by my head, but I still managed to visit a couple different friends and spend a some time with people. With a hard decision on Jan.1st not to go on a spur of the moment road trip to FL with my cousin and some hard work on my friend's property, I did a lot of cleaning then installed a wood stove in the bunkhouse to have a warm fire by the end of the first day of the new year so that was very rewarding. Having heat in the winter is a gamechanger. Duh. Hopefully, this is indicative of the entire year to come, start off a little bumpy, but end tremendously well. All the things I've learned in the past year, especially in the past few months as a result of my accident have been life-altering and, now, that my body has healed and I'm able to be my hardworking self, again, I can hopefully put these new lessons to good practice. The key is to not forget them by going back to my old ways and relying on my ability to white-knuckle it by taking my body for granted now that I'm healthy. I've got to do things differently if I'm ever going to amount to something.

I'm still without any permanent home base. The property, which is 9 acres, is where most of my stuff is, tools, clothes, sailboat, etc. My friend, mr.Finance, has owned it for 20yrs, but wasn't able to build his dream house on it like he intended years ago because the man he bought it from lied about it being a buildable lot. He tried to take the guy to court, but it was a big mess and justice did not prevail because the courts would not hold the man accountable. My friend is very happy that such a frustrating experience is finally having a positive outcome. We had to take 5 truck loads of trash to the dump to even get started. The property has 3 small outbuildings on it that my friend mistakenly let some guy he knew store some stuff in and this guy turned out to be a hoarder. This week I finished cleaning out the last of the buildings and built racks to store lumber and organize tools in the building we're calling "the shop." My friend cleared out a small stand of young saplings with his chainsaw at the far edge of the property that might possibly be a good spot for a camper temporarily until I can either build a tiny house or renovate the bunkhouse. He'd much rather be working outside with his hands rain or shine than at a desk in the world of high finances.

The land which is adjacent to an abandoned cranberry bog is somewhat precariously situated because it abuts the backyard of a few suburban homes where people have gotten accustomed over the years to the land not being used inclining some of these neighbors to think of it as an extension of their own backyard so they're frequently walking through the area where I'm working with their family and pets, not to mention a group of teenagers from the nearby high school who, also, like to frequent the property. None of them seem to realize that it would be the same as me walking through their front yard using it like it's my own. I could just tell of them to stop, but I'm trying to be neighborly and let them continue to use the land because I know what it's like to want to get away from the crowdedness of the area and enjoy nature, though some of the teenagers who I believe were using it as a place to smoke pot, unfortunately, are going to have to find someplace else to do that. The result, however, is that sleeping there has been tricky because I'm embarrassed about people knowing I sleep in my truck. They often walk through early in the morning or after dark only a few feet from my window so I've had to duck down to not be seen. It's absolutely ridiculous, but the property is my best option, right now. The farm in southern Maine sent me a written proposal of the role they'd like for me to play on their farm which was part managerial and part all around foreman, but they were offering less than I was making on the farm I just finished the season at which was already far below what I'm worth so I had to decline.

The bunk house which was originally used as housing for the migrant workers on the crandberry bog isn't insulated so it will need to be, as well as stripped and re-sided, before it can be a viable place to live. There's no power or running water on the property, not that I've ever needed such amenities. There's a number of creeks and wetlands so I've got plenty of water available. I heated up some on the wood stove and had a cowboy tub by the fire, yesterday, which was relaxing. If I just had a little privacy, things would be a lot better, but the flip-side is I'm not spending nearly as much time alone. My two friends, mr.Finance and mr.Fire Captain, live very different lives than me and don't really understand why I've chosen to live like I have, but we still have a lot of laughs when we're able to get together. They've both been out to the property in the last week or so. They're busy with their lives and families so I can't expect to see them much, now, that the holidays are over and every one's gone back to work, but it reminds me what a difference getting to see people makes.

January 8, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Made it back to the property just before dark. We finally got hit with some snow this winter so I was up in Marshfield, yesterday, to plow my father's driveway and my friend's down the road and spent the night to visit with them. It's a winter wonderland here. The branches of the pine trees hang heavy with their thick frozen frosting pulling them almost to the ground. I see from the tracks passing by the front door of the bunk house that my neighbors have come through with their dogs. I can hear them from across the bog sledding in their backyard. It's nice that they do stuff as a family and are having fun.

I won't start a fire, tonight. I've only got a little firewood left so I'll save it for, tomorrow, when I can round up a lot more with the chainsaw. There's plenty of dead trees here in the woods. The truck's plenty warm from driving here to keep me cozy.

January 12, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
It's 8:30pm and I'm typing by candlelight. I've had a fire going since this afternoon so the bunkhouse is fairly warm. With no insulation, it never gets super warm, but it's still plenty comfortable enough. I've been working in here building a chicken coop all evening. I'm just building the parts. I'll assemble all the sections outside. It's actually going to be a chicken tractor, a chicken coop on wheels, so I can move it around the property or take it with me when I leave. I'm usually in bed, by now, but I didn't want to stop working and leave the ambience of the fire and oil lamp. I've been making most of my cuts with the hand saw so it's quiet and peaceful. It seemed a little overkill to fire up the generator to run power tools. I had peanut-butter and ice tea lemonade for dinner and it was fine. I'll go food shopping, tomorrow, with what little money I have left. I'm healthy, again, so I could've gotten a job, by now, but I'm trying to tough it out and work for myself. I sold my car and my mountain bike to pay bills. It wasn't easy. I really liked that bike and having a second vehicle is a valuable asset when flying solo, but I needed the money. If the chicken tractor comes out good, I'm going to build more and sell them to put a few bucks in my pocket until I get some bigger projects off the ground -not to mention get some chickens for eggs. I've already got the lumber. I might as well. That's one thing about building stuff all the time, you accumulate extra materials with every project so, at this point, I've got a mini-lumber yard stock-piled in the shop enough for a few coops.

January 18, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I woke up eager to get to work. It's how I wake up every morning. Maybe eager isn't the right word. Anxious might be more like it. A lot of times, I'll even forget to eat then hours later I'll wonder why I'm still anxious. "That's not anxiety, genius. That's hunger." They are similar feelings, actually, both residing in the stomach area. Anyways, I am eager, or anxious, to get to work on finishing the chicken coop so I can paint it and sell it. All I have left is my sailboat, truck and tools. The other night, mr.Fire Captain and I got a chance to hang out. His family was up in VT, but he had to work. When he go out, he had some free time so he drove over to the property where I've been staying. As we were talking, I asked him his opinion on whether he thought I should sell my boat. I have very minimal bills, but I have a few and I don't like being stressed out about money so selling it would alleviate this. I really like my sailboat, but I can always get another one when I'm in the clear. That's when he remembered a new app his buddy uses. It's basically like uber for handymen. Sorry, handythem. Customers can use it to hire someone to do odd jobs around their house so people who are good at fixing stuff can log in whenever they want and pick whatever jobs are in their area. I might try it. I've heard of these types of services before and there's quite a few of them, now, but never tried one. I usually post my own ad on a farming site I use. I'll look into it, later today, but this isn't why I didn't bundled up and rush outside to start working like I often do.

The whole benefit of being in a quiet setting surrounded by nature, well, mostly surrounded -I'm still in the suburbs, technically, is that I can live at a more natural pace. One of the biggest lessons I learned years ago was that I needed to slow down. We all need to learn how to slow down. Walking is a great catalyst for this and I've done a lot. I've been thinking about this more and more, lately, because as precarious as my situation is, at the moment, the fact that I can dictate my pace of life while trying to improve my situation has made all the difference in the world. The more stressful the conditions, the calmer my thought process has become. I've even been able to manage my hunger because like I said hunger and anxiousness are very similar feelings and it's easy for a person to mistake one for the other. Forgetting to eat is not the same as choosing not to eat. One is a result of absent-mindedness and the other a result of presence of mind. Everything comes down to being present so when the circumstances become more dire, it's actually easier, for me, to slow down because I know how vital my decisions are. When things are go easy and comfortable is when I'm more apt to get sloppy. One might think it would be just the opposite thinking I should hurry up and go get another job, now that my ribs are healed, myself included, but hurrying is rarely a good idea with the exception of maybe ambulances and armageddon. Maybe that's why there are so many movies about one and the nightly news is filled with the other because certain people don't want us slowing down. Then, they couldn't take advantage of us so easily.

Food, water and shelter. These are our basic necessities and it's hard to slow down, i.e. not be anxious, when these needs aren't met, especially if they haven't been met in a long time. One other need that is not on this list that should be which I've recently and painfully had to accept is community. It's not that I've never believed in community. I always have, but I haven't incorporated community into my life enough. Thinking something and doing something are not the same thing. Incorporating community into one's life is not as easy as it sounds especially in a world that's trying to keep us divided. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending how I look at it, my little accident a few months ago finally forced me to accept help from the few people I have in my life. This was the first step in creating community. Even though I've always believed in it and dreamed of creating it, I had to literally be forced to do start doing it when I had no other choice. I've always planned on going about it in a much different way, but it hasn't happened after all this time so maybe this was life, God or Mother Nature's way of deciding for me.

The handperson app had a catch. After you finish filling out all the info and give your number so they can do a background check, that's when they tell you it costs 25 bucks to use the app which just encouraged me to keep trying to work for myself.

January 22, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I have to be very careful about when I buy bananas, these days. Mine were black when I woke up, the other morning. I should've wrapped them in a sweatshirt or something before I fell asleep. That might have helped. They do not do well in sub-freezing temperatures and winter has definitely hit New England. I'm sure a lot of people, including myself, were wondering if it would ever come. It was so mild for so long, but we've had a few single digit days, lately. I've been using my firewood sparingly. Once I'm bundled up and working, I'm warm enough.

I joined a "church", last week. It's not a religious church, as contradictory as that sounds. People are allowed to choose their own definition of God, Buddha, Allah, Mother Nature or whatever other name they want to use. Some choose a religious God. Some don't. I don't, but I had to do something. I've always believed in something bigger than myself. My faith in it has kept me safe many times in my travels, but I can't keep spending so much time alone like I always have. A lot of people who get married and start a family doing whatever they have to in order to support them don't encounter this issue as much. The "doing whatever" part of that path has been something I wasn't willing to do. Hence, spending a mountain of time alone. Some of the guys I just met at the church were going out for some food afterwards and invited me. It was one of the best times I've had in a long time. It probably wasn't anything special to them, but it meant the world to me and gave me a glimpse of what life with other people in it could feel like. We had a lot of laughs, mostly at one another's expense -the best kind of humor. They still don't know much about me, yet, but there's still plenty to laugh at with.

*The police officer who stopped at 5am when I was walking to church to see where I was going and if I wanted a ride.

January 23, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Had a quiet, but nice day rounding up firewood this afternoon. I've been using my wood supply sparingly so it was nice to get an aggressive fire going this evening and pull the galvanized water troth I got a tractor's supply up to the wood stove to take a cowboy tub. It was still pretty cold in the bunk house so it was a little hard to see the shampoo and conditioner bottles on the stool beside the tub only an arm's reach away because of all the steam, but the fire felt so good it was worth it. Living like this definitely makes a person appreciate the simple things in life. When I was done and dressed, I pulled a chair right up to the stove and let it warm me up completely. I almost broke out my guitar, but I figured I should do some writing instead. It's been a few days.

I've been preoccupied with finishing the first chicken tractor so much so that I haven't been able to justify doing anything else like getting more wood or even going skating with my friend and his boys, who are all hockey players, on a pond in their neighborhood when he offered, yesterday. I felt bad about declining, but I couldn't afford to "waste" the day playing when I have work to do. This is the story of my life. Just ask any friend I've ever had, or any girl friend. I'm such a workaholic, a drill sergeant, more like it. I need to stop being like this. It even affected my friend because he decided to come over to the property (which he owns) with me and burn some of the brush he's been cutting down instead of going skating. In my defense, there was a shortage of hockey skates because a bunch of the boys' friends were going, too, who didn't have skates so their extra pairs were needed. My buddy has his own equipment because he plays in a men's league a couple nights a week. He and I played against each other when were in high school, but I donated all my equipment to goodwill just before I left Alaska. I picked up a pair of used skates since getting back, but I have yet to use them. They're over in Marshfield. He couldn't get the burn pile going because the brush was too green, but, at least, the family dog had a blast. She's a German short hair and loves running around in the woods over here. Though I was tempted to keep working way past dark, I made it a point to drive to the rink, last night, to catch his youngest boy's hockey game. He's only a freshman, but dresses for varsity. Turns out they were playing Marshfield, my old school, so I saw a lot of old friends who, now, have kids who play. A couple of my friends are actually the coaches. I spent a huge portion of my childhood in that rink, but hadn't been there in probably 25 years. It almost doesn't even feel like my life anymore, but a strange dream of someone else's.

Tomorrow, I'm going to apologize to my buddy for not going skating. I'm an idiot. It would have been a blast, but I've been so stressed about running out of money that I've felt trapped with the only option being to work my way out of it. This has been my solution to every problem I've ever had. I, also, decided, last night, that I'm going to drive by the Salvation Army, tomorrow, and see if I can get a part-time job at their thrift store which isn't far from here. It won't pay anything, but it'll keep me from running out of money and it feels like I'd be doing something worthwhile in the process. Once, I get my first silly coop finished, money won't be an issue. If I can feel as good as I do on the inside under these circumstances, I've already made it in life. I just have nothing to show for out on the outside, yet, but if it's true, I will eventually and it will be built on something worthwhile.

February 3, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I had a cold walk home, last Monday night. The church I joined meets on certain evenings during the week as well as Sundays so a person can get more involved if they like. It wasn't the cold that made my walk unenjoyable. Early the other morning, it was well below freezing, but it was almost magical walking in the moonlight. A person's body will eventually warm up despite the temperature as long as a you're dressed properly and keep moving. It's the loneliness that made it hard, admittedly self-imposed. I walked out of the church as soon as the evening "service" was over. It's so hard to linger in a room full of people when I don't know anyone. A lot of the guys that I met the previous week weren't there and I hate feeling like a needy little bitch so I got out of there as soon as I could. I even stopped about a block away, looked back and thought about returning to try and socialize and meet new people, but what if it didn't work? Then it'd be even later and colder making the walk seem longer so I didn't risk it. Again, it's not the distance. It's only about 4 miles one way. I used to walk 30 a day on my cross-country trips. It's the mental isolation. If I believe I'm waking towards something good, it doesn't matter how far or how cold. It'll be easy, but when I'm walking into darkness with loneliness waiting for me, it's not very fun. I'm sure running on fumes financially is a huge contributor towards these feelings.

We got hit with a blizzard this weekend and I ended up plowing for a bunch of people as a result of mr.Finance's wife posting something on her fb page about their friend having a plow truck and is looking for new clients. I was furious when I found out that they had done this without talking to me, first, because I had told him weeks ago that I wasn't interested in doing it as a job. I've done it in the past and it's not worth it, but I kept how upset I was to myself because he and mr.Fireman are the only friends I have here and I can't afford to burn any bridges. It's not that I'd ever stop being friends with them, but when I only have two people in my life, it's best not to do anything to jeopardize these relationships until I get myself to a more stable place. I'm, actually, good at communication and confrontration, but an important component in the success of resolving misunderstandings is having an unconditional attitude to towards the person and the outcome. If you need them or need to be right, it's much harder to do this. I've lived a very independent life as a result of my background so needing others is very uncomfortable for me and I'm working on this. I'm much more comfortable being helpful or useful to others with no strings attached and I can't wait until I'm able to do this, again.

People, including myself, don't realize what something entails until they've actually done it themselves. Until they do, if they ever do, it's just an idea in their minds. There's countless examples of this like riding a motorcycle or a horse which looks much different when you see someone doing it from the actual experience of doing it yourself. Scuba diving, surfing, playing the guitar, even, riding a bike. The list is endless. We've all experienced the difference in seeing something done and actually learning how to do it ourselves, yet, we still, often, forget about this major difference when applying it to everything we see in the world. Why? For two reasons. Most of us live in a world of ideas, not reality, and, secondly, we're usually in a hurry. Plowing is just another example. People see the giant piece of metal attached to the front of a truck and they see how it can be lowered onto the ground and push the snow as the truck drives forward. Seems pretty simple and easy. They don't realize that before you can do this, you have to know where the driveway is so you don't plow over someone's rose bushes, rock wall, driveway lights, etc. You have to buy stakes and hammer them into the ground which by now is usually frozen. And, good luck finding stakes this time of year because they're usually sold out. I've used small pvc pipe and painted the ends orange if I couldn't find any then taken a piece of re-bar and hammered it into the ground, first, to create a hole for the pvc to fit into. You have to do this for every driveway you plow before it snows. This takes a day of driving around so now you're invested before it's even snowed, if it snows. When it does, you often have to plow each person's driveway twice, once in the morning so they can get to work because the town trucks create big snow banks at the end of people's driveways from plowing the street that they live on. Then you have to return when it finally stops snowing to plow them out, again. Don't worry. You'll get plenty of texts from each of the people asking you when you'll be there and when you're coming back.

If you're going to be a plow guy, or girl, you should really have two plows and two trucks because usually every storm something on your plow will break and the last thing you want is to be unable to keep plowing with a bunch of people depending on you. If something does break, you can go home and get your other truck or other plow and get back to work otherwise you'll be out there in the freezing cold trying to fix whatever it is with your fingers going numb, if it's even fixable. Forget about buying parts because the stores aren't open in the wee hours of the morning or in the evening when you're doing a lot of your plowing. You, also, have to re-wire the headlights on your truck to turn off and connect them to the headlights mounted to the top of the plow so you can plow in the dark or even drive on the roads at night because the plow blocks people from seeing the headlights on your truck. I never did this because I only got the plow to do my father's driveway which is where I kept it so I didn't need to drive on the road. If I was going to do a friend's driveway, I'd just drive over during the day. All this makes it a little more than sitting in a warm truck and pushing the snow out of the way.

She got a lot of responses. I should have just said "No", but I didn't want to disappoint them so I acquiesced to do four other driveways in addition to theirs still giving myself enough time to drive to Marshfield and do my father and mr.Fireman's, too. I pulled people out of snow banks along the road three times on my way from Kingston to Marshfield. Two days of plowing I think I made $105 (after subtracting gas money and the price of driveway stakes). Hardly worth the time, stress and wear and tear on my truck. Mr.Finance after hearing about my handyman app experience told me that he's got a bunch of projects around his house that he hasn't had time to get to that he'll pay me for which is a huge help in taking off the pressure. He's golfing in FL, at the moment, the bastard.

I was feeling a lot better this week and thought about walking to church, again, to replace the experience from last week, but I ended up having to drive because I ran out of time working on the coop every waking moment of the day before having to leave. It's coming along great. If I was a little smaller, I'd move into it. It's going to be fully insulated because happy chickens lay more eggs and I don't have the heart to make them bear the freezing temps of the winter without any protection. The one we had at the sled dog compound I worked at in Fairbanks, AK was warm even in the dead of winter with just one heat lamp because it was insulated so well. The one I'm building will, also, have a removable floor, two windows on either end of the roof and a big side door that can be opened to make it cooler in the hot humid days of summer. If I just wanted to slap something together to sell it in order to make money I could have done that a long time ago, but "the passage of time leaves but one standard. Quality." I heard that saying when I was a freshman in college. Not sure who said it, but it stuck with me.

Before going by the Salvation Army, I decided to try the youth home in Plymouth, again, that I reached out to about volunteering a couple years ago, but never heard back from them when I was living down here before. This time I applied for a part-time position they had posted on their website and heard back from them within minutes asking me to come in for an interview. I met with them, yesterday, morning and unfortunately was not impressed. The woman's office who interviewed me was a mess and I don't think she smiled once the entire time I was there. How do they expect to give these kids a chance to be happy in life if they, themselves, don't know how to be happy? I'm giving myself a day to think about it. There's other ways I can help kids. I think there's about 15 teenagers living there while the place, I'd guess, employs over 30 adults. This doesn't add up to me. This doesn't make it any easier to pass on the job. I adopted the belief that we are responsible for what we are aware of when I chose this path in life so the more we become aware of the more we become responsible for hence a lot of people tuning out or turning a blind eye to how things are in the world which is not an option for me. The place I'm going to create someday (or die trying) will address this problem and give kids a positive place to come, but in the meantime I've got to work on creating it...which may sound pretty ridiculous for someone in my position, but the reason I'm in this position is because I believe in this responsibility.

February 4, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I need to be aware of the knew lessons I've learned, lately, and new habits I'm trying to establish especially since it seems that I'm close to having things get a lot better. I read a great book the other day called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and it really helped me, but reading... well, actually, I listened to it, the first time, while I worked then looked it up online to order a hard copy so I can read it over and over. It's not very long, but whether reading or listening, a good book has two facets to it, the first being it gives a person a break from reality. It's an escape, but if it's going to be more than this then the person has to incorporate the lessons they learn from the book into their life. This is the second part. The four agreements are very simple.

1. Keep you word impeccable.
2. Don't take anything personal.
3. Never make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.

I think I can handle this. The book has a lot more to offer than just these four simple principles regarding their context as well as a deeper understanding of the world we live in, but they are the foundation it offers for improving one's life and they resonate with me.

I've, also, been trying to pray more. I've never had a lot of interest in prayer because I've always associated it with organized religion something I am very skeptical of, but through a number of books I've read over the years and my own personal pursuit in trying to plug myself into something greater than myself, I think I've finally been able to make some progress on this subject. Though I'm still spending my days and nights alone, the time I've gotten to spend with others in the last few months while making a conscious effort to not be around my immediate family, which unfortunately is not good for me, right now, has allowed me to recognize that prayer as I'm experiencing it, now, is finding a connection with something greater than myself that resides within me as well as outside me. I've always relied on my work ethic and dependability to find jobs, my intuition and instincts to make good decisions and keep me out of harms way, but deeper than this I'm recognizing that there's a part of me that is not me. It's within me and probably always has been and it just might be God. I certainly don't make all my organs do what they're supposed to do or heal my body when I get a bruise or cut. A part of me which I have no control over does these things. What other parts of me do I have no control over? Maybe God, for lack of a better word, has been so close, like right under my nose, that I've always looked past it unless it was screaming at me to listen so, now, I'm trying to connect to it before I even have a question or problem. Primarily because I'm still alone most of the time, I have to find a way to push through the loneliness until I make more friends, but if this all-knowing intelligence is inside me then maybe I'm not as alone as I've felt all these years. I don't know, but I figured I should write this down before I head out in the rain, today, and get some stuff done.

February 23, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
So much for praying as a way to cure loneliness. That didn't work by a long shot. I've had some rough moments in the last week. It was a nice idea though and worth giving it a shot. I'm not saying prayer doesn't work and I'm going to keep trying, but, for me, the only cure for loneliness is people. There's no magic trick to get around this. I'm sure there's a person in prison, right now, who relies on prayer to get them through the day and more power to them if it works. We all have to walk in our own shoes and everyone's situation is different. I have a buddy out in LA, mr.Music man, who always says "We're only as honest as our options." He's a brother, never knew his father, grew up in the projects and has never done drugs or drank a drop of alcohol. He didn't make the expression up, but there's a lot of truth to it. To over simplify the point, it just means everything's relative. I'm sure there's plenty of people doing a lot worse than me who would kill to be in the position I'm in. There's definitely plenty of people doing a lot better, but it's all how you look at it so that's what I'm trying to do. I may not have much, right now, but I'm, also, in a position where I can do something about this and build whatever I have on something I can trust. Not everyone can say this. I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm not 100% sure. Meeting new people and becoming more involved at "the church" is definitely helping, but I still have a long way to go, if I want to accomplish the things I've always planned on. First, I have to stabilize a way to make a meager income by my own means rather than just getting another job while continuing to be dependent on a dysfunctional system. If I can do this then I can do a lot more as a result.

I feel bad; I told mr.Finance when he stopped by the property, this afternoon, that I might drive over to the rink and watch his son's hockey game with him, but as it was getting dark and I was putting my tools away, I remembered it's like 10 bucks to get in. Plus, I hadn't written in quite a while so I couldn't justify spending the time and money when I could be doing something productive. Oh well, if there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it's not just a reflection off water dripping down the wall from a light much, much farther away, the only way I'm going to find out is if I keep moving forward regardless of how little my progress.

The coop is pretty much done. I just need to paint it. I made the axle for the wheels from scratch by welding threaded rod to some angle iron and I installed double-paned windows which I, also, made from scratch by cutting the glass by hand and inlaying the pieces on both sides of a wooden frame to make it much warmer than just single-paned glass, but I hinged them so they can be opened in the summer. This thing is turning into a doll house for chickens. I've been cutting and splitting firewood for mr.Fireman a couple days a week so that's been huge for scraping together a couple bucks until I sell this thing. Plus, I'm getting a little exercise. Some of the logs are huge. He had a lot of trees taken down when he expanded his backyard. The pile was probably 8ft. high and 25ft. long and it's almost gone.

I guess it's time to remind myself, and anyone else, why someone would live the way I have. When I first started out, it was all about achieving my dreams. It seemed socially acceptable for a person to do whatever it takes in order to do this, but then I realized that my dreams, and most people's, surprisingly are ego-based and this was too shallow of a goal to work towards, in my opinion. But, what would a person be willing to endure to make it to paradise? Or, heaven on earth? This, to me, was a worthwhile goal. I've had short-lived moments when I've known that it is possible to reach this place and this is what keeps me going. Paradise or heaven on earth is not simply about pleasure and having everything a person could ever want. It's about having everything my soul has ever wanted, not my mind. My mind's an idiot, a shallow, petty, obsessive, scared little creature. My soul on the other hand, is an infinite entity encapturing all that I'm unaware of yet which is completely relative to me. This probably won't make sense to a lot of people especially with all the trials I've had attempting to achieve this, but if I can pull it off, the proof will be self-evident. I believe paradise and heaven are all around us, and I've experienced this at moments, but most people can't see it because they're lost in thought and the crazy part is that they don't even know it. Ideas have become their reality. We are living in a world of ideas. Thought is the epidemic of our time. We are out of control with it led by our petty minds rather than our altruistic hearts.

February 26, 2022, Marshfield, Massachusetts

Prayers and support for the people of Ukraine.

March 29, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I feel bad that I haven't written in a month. I was so focused on finishing my present project that I couldn't justify working on anything else. It's cold, today, so I figured I'd finally get back to it before heading outside. It's been a long winter, but I survived. We had a warm spell this past week so it looks like spring is just around the corner. The question I need to ask is "What for?" Why have I endured yet another freezing winter living like I do? I need to take an overview of work and projects in order to make a plan for the future so this will be my last winter living like this. If I'm going to work for myself, I'm pretty sure I can make ends meet and pay my bills seeing as I barely have any, along with the fact that I don't have rent or a mortgage, but barely getting by is not a plan for the future. This cheap temporary situation (which has become a lifestyle) is an opportunity which can allow me the freedom that many people who have to work their butts off 40-50hrs/wk to maintain even the most basic American lifestyle don't have. If I can take advantage of this opportunity, it can be the foundation of a better and more meaningful alternative for more than just myself, but I've got to keep my momentum and stay focused.

I could've sold the coop weeks ago, but I haven't so I've had to figure out what was keeping me from moving forward. I've always told myself if I can just accomplish this one thing, whatever it is that I happened to be working on, at that moment, then things will start getting better, but once I accomplish it they rarely have. I've had to realize that our present system is deceptive and more money is not the answer to all my problems. I think not selling the coop, yet, was my way of forcing myself to realize that it's not that simple. Honestly, I kind of want to keep the coop for myself because it came out so well then I could get some chickens here for eggs, but I'll probably sell it this week. I still need the money even though spring is basically here and with it lots of other work opportunities. I haven't gotten chickens, or a dog, for that matter, because then I'd be stuck here and I'm still battling loneliness on a daily, hourly, basis. I wouldn't be able to leave for a few days whenever I want or jump on a plane if I got livestock. Don't laugh, but I looked into driving to the Ukrainian embassy. There's one in D.C. and another in Ottawa. They one in Canada is actually closer and the organizers sending people over to help don't care about what country you're from. I don't speak Ukrainian, or any other useful languages, so I'm not sure how much help I'd be. I can fight and do any type of physical work, but if we can't communicate with one another I'm not sure if it would be wise. I've read up on the history of the situation, but I'm sure I don't know the whole story. I'm kind of fighting my own battle here anyways. Running from it is not the solution, but I have thought about going over to help a lot. I'm just not convinced I should stay here, either. I hate it here, actually. It's so crowded and unfriendly. I can't drive down the road without someone cutting me off or riding my bumper. Yes, I've learned a lot from the past six months and it was necessary for me to make a change and accept help, but I'm 100% healed, now. I've been doing pull-ups, push-ups and squats in the work shop just to get a little exercise, but what am I hanging on every day for? To make money? Heck no.

I'm tired of being alone all the time. I'm so much more productive when I'm around people, but I have no people. I got injured and it forced me to accept help from a couple of friends for a little while so I saw them more than usual, but, now, what? Getting a girlfriend or starting a family is not the answer. That'll just distract me from the problem and make me dependent on a corrupt system, but being alone in the world, single-handedly trying to live according to my beliefs is beginning to feel pointless. I shouldn't have to almost die in order to see people once in a while and I can't water myself down and pretend to be someone I'm not just to make other people feel comfortable. They're the ones who bought into all the lies and I can't live like that. I've met a few more people since getting more involved in the "church". I know it's a little weird that I put the word in quotations, but if you've read any of my earlier writings from years ago you'll know why I do this. I've never found a real church to join though I have tried out a few in my adult life. I could never get past the hard-to-believe stories that so many religions are based on. We live in a very rational and cynical world. It doesn't seem honest that the people leading these churches claim to believe these stories, yet they're living like everyone else, if not better, while things keep getting worse. The "church" I'm participating in, now, doesn't require a person to go along with this and that's why I'm allowing myself to participate in it, but even they don't really know me, how I live or, more importantly, why?

Mr.Finance is coming by this afternoon and I need to have a heart to heart conversation with him. I need to have one with mr.Fireman, too. I've got to start being more myself. Our friendships are based primarily on chemistry. Our personalities mesh, we're all ex-athletes and we have the same sense of humor, but I've got to start talking to them about what I really believe even if it's very different from what they believe. They're the only two people in my life and I've been afraid to get too real with them because I usually scare people off when I do this and I can't afford to lose their friendships. We're going to move a little shed when he gets here. It was left on the property and it's falling apart if we don't save it. Maybe I'll turn it into a temporary chicken coop (if I decide to sell layers with the coops I'm selling). This weekend he's going to rent a bobcat so we can move some dirt around and fix the driveway where it gets muddy after a hard rain. He's been wanting to buy a tractor, but I haven't encouraged this because I don't want him to spend money for the wrong reasons. I, honestly, don't know why he's coming to work on the shed. I can do it myself. Maybe he just wants to get out of the office or maybe it's his way of trying to spend time with me. He knows I'm struggling to stay here. I don't need his help with the shed. I just need to start being more myself.

I've made a third friend, recently. He and mr.Finance went to high school together. We'll call him "Shrek" because he's a funny big oaf of a guy. No, I can't call him that. He's a job recruiter so I'll just keep it simple and call him "mr.Recruiter". He's got a big heart, but he doesn't open up easily so we're still getting comfortable with each other. He saved my butt a couple weeks ago. The coop was almost finished and I was scraping by working a couple days a week cutting and splitting firewood until I could sell it and he offered me a down payment on it without actually buying it. He said if I make it big then I can pay him back otherwise it's NOT a loan. He learned how rough I was living and wanted to help take the pressure off. There are no words for what it did for my mental well-being. I owe him a lot more than money. I'm going to drive up to NH on Thursday with him to look at a car for his wife. It's a convertible and he wants to do something nice for her. She, originally wanted to get a motorcycle, but they have kids and Shrek thought that was a little dangerous. I get that. I've had a lot of motorcycles, even gone coast to coast on one. They're fun, but not the safest way to travel. Mr.Fireman has a sweet harley that he never rides anymore, either, having two little girls to raise. A convertible is a happy compromise. They're a lot of fun, too.

Well, it's late morning and I'm starting to get anxious about running to the lumber yard and getting a bunch of prep-work done before mr.Finance arrives so I should wrap this up.

April 5, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Had a good talk with mr.Finance, the other day. Before he arrived at the property while I was still running around doing errands, I realized that it's wrong for me to have unrealistic expectations of other people. It's not fair to them. I need to be in charge of my world and use whatever understanding I can gain to be more accepting of other people in my life regardless if they live like me. My biggest take away from this winter and the accident, other than the obvious redundant theme of needing to not live such an isolated life -because if a cat has 9 lives I don't know how many I have left, was, sadly, letting go of the expectation that the people in my life should be part of my actual family. Before talking with my friend on Tuesday, I realized that even though we get along awesome, he doesn't need to understand why I live the way I live because he may not be able to and this is ok. Our lives and paths have been very different. I'm not going to change him and he's not going to change me. In fact, I may need to try harder to understand where he's at seeing as I'm the one who left that world. I know what it's like. I grew up in it, but he may never be able to understand what it's like to live in mine and it's unrealistic, and unfair, for me to expect him to. It's one thing to intellectualize something. It's another to actually experience it. I made a choice to live differently than most people, but looking back and coming back here there were many circumstances that contributed to this decision and had I not experienced them I may have never made such a choice. I might have followed along like everyone else. I wasn't an outsider or misfit when I was a kid. I was very much in the middle of the crowd fitting in quite comfortably, maybe even a leader. Now, with everything I've learned it was almost like the perfect storm of circumstances that finally contributed to me taking a different path more than it was a personal choice. The choice was a result of the circumstances more than it was a reflection of me. The fact that no one knew about these circumstances, except for my small immediate family, was what made me feel so different and alone.

Anyways enough about me. I'm still not crazy about living in this area, but I need to make the best of it while I'm here. There's nothing saying I can't leave and take a break from it when I need to. About a month ago, it was 6:30 in the morning during a snow storm so the roads were pretty quiet, but this didn't keep some guy from riding my bumper. Granted I don't drive as fast as most people around here, but driving so close to someone under such slippery conditions is not too bright. I finally got tired of it and slowed down pulling over a little to let him pass. The roads hadn't been plowed, yet, so I didn't pull over too far because I couldn't really tell what the side of the road looked like, but if this guy was in such a hurry he could go around me. Instead, he pulled up next to me, put his truck in park in the middle of the road and paced over to my truck. I put my window down to see what he wanted. Once he got to my door, he reached in and grabbed my jacket with both hands and started pulling me so I clocked him in the face. It was kind of funny. You don't get to punch someone in the face everyday, but when they put their hands on you, it's go time. I'll be the first to admit that it wasn't much of a punch because I was sitting down, but it still startled him as he stumbled backwards towards his truck. He said "Is that the best you got?" I laughed and said, "No", but he didn't hear me. He was so belligerent yelling continuously not letting me get a word in edgewise. He kept saying that it was all my fault for giving him a brake job which I explained that I hadn't. I simply slowed down so he could go around me, but it was no use. He wasn't listening to a word. He subscribed to the school of thought that if you talk (or yell) louder and faster than the other person, you will win the argument, regardless of what you say. I wasn't interested in winning or even arguing at all. I was actually in a good mood on my way to church and then after that I had a few people to plow out. He was fat and I'm guessing in his 60's. He was simply unloading all the venom he could at me as I patiently waited for him to finish, but when he put his hands inside my window, again, I told him he better move them which he did acting like a disrespectful, little punk saying, "Oooh, what are you going to do?" It's really sad that someone his age hasn't learned much from life. Eventually, he ran out of steam having made fun of my truck, which was the same kind as his, my Maine plates, even though I grew up just down the road, but the last thing he said was the cherry on top. He called me a "sissy puncher" which made me laugh, again. I would have left long ago, but then he'd be right behind me on my bumper, again, so I had to put up with his little tantrum until he finally drove off. I guess he wasn't in a hurry after all.

A week later, some guy followed my truck onto the property one night (ignoring the "No Trespassing" signs that my friend put up) and basically started an argument with me claiming he had a right to know what I was doing out here. It was close to ten o'clock so I told the guy that I understood why he'd be curious, but I thought since I've been coming and going for the past 4 months that I was surprised he'd never seen me. I tried to be polite, at first, apologizing that I thought I had met all the neighbors by now. He said that he lived right across the street so I asked him if he bought his house from my friend, telling him his name, because that's where my friend lived when he bought this property, but he said he didn't know my friend. It turns out that the guy didn't live right across the street, but one driveway down, close enough, and saw me turn into the wooded driveway that leads to the property. He claimed he had never seen me before which I told him was hard for me to believe, but I suppose it's possible so no big deal. He wasn't hearing any of this continuing to imply that I shouldn't be back here and that I must be up to no good dropping f-bombs and pointing his finger at me inches away from touching me. I finally had enough and told him that he needed to back off and change his attitude because he was the one trespassing, not me. I offered to show him around the property with a flashlight at all the work I and my friend had done to the land and buildings since I'd gotten here even offered him my driver's license if we wanted to call the police. He refused every offer and continued to be a jerk. Just another unhappy person looking to unload on someone else, but I kept trying to take the high road and eventually he calmed down offering to shake my hand and invited me to stop by his house anytime. I shook his hand to get rid of him, but I have no interest in ever seeing him, again. Not wanting to get my friend in trouble with his neighbors was the only reason I didn't put him in his place. Miserable people somehow think it's acceptable to act like children. It turns out I'd already met his teenage son when he and another boy walked through the property earlier this winter to go "hang out" in the woods. He was carrying a deer antler that he'd found when they left and I let them come and go which I didn't have to do, but I remember being their age, too, before all the woods I used to run around in with my dog got turned into trophy houses. It's just too crowded aroundS here.

I used to say that if a person is stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the freeway everyday, they can either get mad at the people around them for not driving the way they want them to or they can accept the situation as a necessary evil of an otherwise happy life. If they don't have a happy life then they should probably remove themselves from the routine. Blaming other people for how we feel is a very dysfunctional way to live, but unfortunately a lot of people think it's acceptable behavior. It's not.

My friend and I got a bunch of stuff done on the property this week which means a lot to him. He bought it like 20 years ago, but the guy he bought it from lied about the fact that it was a buildable lot so for 20 years he's been unable to do anything with it which has been a huge thorn in his side. Improving it in any way is gradually turning it from a bad situation into a good one.

April 6, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
The cool thing about early spring is that even though it's not exactly warm, the temperatures aren't below freezing anymore which means I've been allowing myself to have a fire in the bunk house because I can actually enjoy the affects of it while cooking, doing dishes, folding laundry, writing, etc. During the dead of winter, it was a waste of wood to try to keep it warm in here with no insulation in the walls so I didn't bother, but on a cool wet day like today a warm fire is the perfect solution. Helped out a buddy who owns a small organic landscaping business, yesterday, shoveled a lot of fill helping mr.Finance fix the long wooded driveway here on the property, this weekend, and, tomorrow, I'll bang out a few more raised bed boxes for mr.Fireman. Feeling a little less lonely these days, but I'm still by myself most of the time. It would be nice to have someone to talk to on a daily basis. My belief that "it takes a village" reinforces the fact that I probably shouldn't start dating until I've consistently solved my loneliness problem which may sound contradictory, but I think a lot of people get into relationships for the wrong reasons and I don't want to put any unrealistic expectations on one. Meaning, I should focus on having more to give rather than hoping to find more to receive. One of the other challenges that comes along with working for myself is that I don't get the back-breaking type of work-outs that I love from working on farms and fishing boats, but, unfortunately, those jobs don't pay much so I'll have to figure out a way to get back in shape enough to ask a lady out if the moment does comes along someday. Having a lot of money isn't what makes me feel like a man. Being in shape does, but I'll never get ahead on what a laborer makes and such is the challenge of living a humble life.

April 9, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
My productivity is increasing. It's not where I know it can be, but it's improving. Pumped out a couple more bed boxes for mr.Fireman, today. I think he wants 10 for now. Once, I finish them, I can focus more on the property here and fixing up the bunk house. I'll probably build a few bed boxes for myself and start a big kitchen garden. With the money from the coop -which I still haven't sold! But, I will. I just want to finish the bed boxes for my friend so he and his little girls can plant their fruits and vegetables soon then I'll put the finishing touches on it and post it. I'll pick up a couple good solar panels so I can have some lights at night and keep this laptop charged. That's pretty much all I need electricity for. While the leaves are still off the trees, I'll clear a lot of the underbrush for a path to the creek before the grass and shrubs start to grow. I've been researching aquaculture a lot lately, so I'm going to try a little edible fish pond with all the water available here on the property. Too many other projects too list, but it's all about building momentum and making more social connections. Even wrote and recorded a new song the other day which I haven't done in a long time.

April 10, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I'd skip this whole paragraph if I was you. It's wicked boring and overly detailed. You've been warned. I was re-welding the wheels on the removable chicken run, today. Originally, I designed it so that the run could be flipped up on two heavy duty hinges which were mounted to the side of the chicken tractor (a chicken coop on wheels) for when you wanted to move it to a different location and it still functions this way, but I realized that the run might be a little too heavy for some people to lift up by themselves so I created the option for it to be disconnected from the coop and rolled separately, or even towed behind the coop, to its new location. Anyways, the wheels, called casters in commercial industries, have a threaded post so that they can be screwed into a mounting bracket, but when I was fabricating the brackets to be attached to the side of the run, I welded a standard 3/4 inch nut to them and I should have used a fine threaded 3/4 inch nut which, again, is common in many industrial applications. Fine threads simply tighten better and don't loosen as easily. If you ever tried to thread a fine threaded bolt into a standard threaded nut, you'll realize that it goes in a little ways and then starts to bind up and cross-thread. I had used nuts with a nylon insert so that they wouldn't gradually unscrew over time and that's what I thought was stopping the casters from threading further by hand. When it was time to try pushing the run around the yard, I grabbed a wrench to tighten them further only to realize it wasn't the nylon stops making it harder to turn, it was because they were different type threads. Ugh, a careless mistake which I realized immediately upon further inspection of the caster posts. Fine threads are noticeably closer together than regular threads. Soooo, I had to find new fine threaded 3/4 inch nuts at the hardware store (a lot of them don't carry them), remove the old nuts (by breaking the tack welds I had made with a heavy hammer and rod driven from the opposite side) and then re-weld the proper nuts. I could have just cranked the casters on using the wrong nuts. They never would have come off once I cross-threaded them far enough, but this was not the proper solution so, today, I fixed them the right way. I ran out of gas in the generator as I was finishing the last wheel. I used it all winter so it's about time.

I try to consolidate my trips off property so I'll get gas tomorrow when I leave to get more lumber for bed boxes. I rounded up some more firewood, this afternoon, since I've been having a lot more fires, lately (like right now). I still haven't spent a night in the bunk house, yet, and I won't until I rip the siding off the outside. They're old asbestos shingles and I didn't make it this far only to inhale some random asbestos and get sick from it. The shingles aren't made from the really bad kind of asbestos. They're almost like mini-concrete sheets which don't create the floating particles interior asbestos panelling create when disturbed or broken, but I'm not taking any chances. It would be nice to sleep indoors on a flat surface like a bed and then just start a fire in the morning to take the chill out of the air, but I'll get there eventually. Made up a rough design for building a small bedroom loft in the bunkhouse. The peak of the ceiling is 12ft. high so I can squeeze one in at one end of the room. Yes, I live a ridiculous life. Got a little lonely later today. Tried to listen to an audiobook on depression, but it was more of a downer than a help written by some know-it-all doctor who never once admitted he'd ever been depressed himself. I've never considered myself depressed either. I don't like labels or made up terms to address problems people are having from trying to live in this artificial world we've created. I'm just lonely, but they're similar feelings so I can relate. Decided to write instead. The sun was out for a little while, today, and it was so beautiful. Well, the giant pot of water has been heating on the wood stove all evening. Time to clean this hobo up.

April 23, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I've been entertaining checking out some group living situations, lately, but after both the guys stopped by, yesterday, and mr.Recruitor rolled in this morning, I can't really complain about loneliness, at the moment. I've been considering two different places, one is in Asheville, NC and the other is up in VT. Ok, I've, also, thought a lot about Costa Rica and Peru, but when I run through a checklist of what I'm looking for in a place, the same question always pops into my head. "If you know exactly what you're looking for, why don't you just create it yourself?" The kind of place that I'm looking for is the kind of place that I've always planned on creating. The long-earned answer to this question is that I can't do it alone. The truth is that I still believe I can create it alone, but I shouldn't condemn myself to a life of loneliness while I'm trying to do it. That's the difference. None of my friends have any interest in living like I want to live. I'm sure they'd hate it if I said that they're like every one else living the "American Dream", but compared to how I live they are, yet we're still friends and though they'll never bring it up, I'm sure they consciously, or subconsciously, overlook the same difference about me. To be honest, I have no idea why they choose to be friends with me.

The weather is really beginning to improve and I'm on the verge of breaking out and exploding with energy and productivity. I can feel it. So right now, I don't have to make any major decisions, but I should still be thinking long term. No more of "I'll do this for the season and then come winter I'll figure out what's next." I've been living like that for far too long and it's kept me in a holding pattern, always thinking and preparing, but never doing. I'm not going to live forever and if I want a family even if it's just adopting children, I've got to create a world where they can learn what life is really about, where they can learn real values and real skills and, most of all, where they can know real happiness. Unfortunately, they're never going to learn these things in this messed up world, but they can if I create a natural one within it...or outside of it.

April 30, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Well, it's time to get brutally honest with myself. I'm wasting my life here. I apologize in advance for sounding so self-absorbed, but this is what I use this blog for. It's the only place where I can "talk" about this stuff. Maybe someday someone will relate to it, if they ever find themselves facing similar challenges. Sometimes I feel bad about how I think I'm going to finally turn the corner and improve things, but then the honeymoon ends whether it's arriving in a new place or, like most recently, getting to spend a couple of hours with a couple friends once every six months and I go back to my life of solitary confinement. It's actually a little embarrassing how excited I get from getting to be around people. There's so much about life to be thankful for, embrace and experience and all I'm doing is hanging on by a thread every day hoping, praying and working to make some kind of a life for myself in a place where I don't belong. I'm failing miserably. God knows I've tried. God may be the only one who knows how hard. I've come up with countless ideas to make money and work for myself, but the simple fact of the matter is money alone has absolutely no ability to motivate me. It's empty. I've had countless job opportunities, as well, but they, also, revolve around the pursuit of money (or the lack of it) and this, again, is a hollow purpose to me. I cannot be duped into thinking it's worthwhile and the reason is simply because there is no one here to convince me. A lot of people are aware of the contradictions and corruption in our society, but they're able to compromise enough to still participate in it because the people in their life make it worthwhile or because their desire for material gain is so great that everything else is a lesser priority. I am alone with my thoughts 24/7, yet thoughts don't motivate me. I'm only motivated by my heart, not my head. My heart knows the truth and it would, and has poured, itself into any worthwhile cause. Accumulating money and perpetuating this corrupt system is the opposite of this. My heart is taking a beating day after day as I try to force myself into working for the mental construct that we've created in this world. It's pointless and I can see right through it. One can lie to one's heart, but one's heart will never lie to them. Our hearts know the truth. Only our minds can tell lies.

Sooooo, what then? Yes, I have been thinking a lot about getting out of the country and seeing a different culture that may have different priorities and values. I've got plenty of stuff to sell to put some money in my pocket and I've still got all the heart in the world to work for something worthwhile. I just haven't been able to find that here. I've only got one life to live and I'm done wasting it.

Why am I so lonely? The redundant continual question. Aside for how obvious the system divides and conquers us, yet no one seems to notice, it's because I've spent my whole life alone, but why? Yes, I didn't come from a close family. We didn't talk or do many things together. Sadly, the bottom line was that my parents weren't very happy despite having plenty on the outside to be happy about. A big reason for this was that neither were close to their own families. Ok so, this might be part of the reason I've felt so lonely growing up and when I'd always take off into the woods with my dog and disappear for hours, but why when I grew up didn't I find a nice girl and start a family of my own and do things differently? This is what all my friends who I grew up with did. They got married, start families and are successful. At least, they appear to be on the outside. However, it's interesting that my two closest friends from college didn't get married, settle down and start families. Our backgrounds were very different. They were, both, minorities, poor and grew up in a city. One of them never even met his father. Despite their humble beginnings, they've both done better than I have. They'd probably admit that they're not doing as great as they'd like to be, but they definitely have nicer things and live a lot more comfortably than I do.

When I consider my background, friends, career path and beliefs, what separates me from most people is how I've lived, but, again, the question is "Why have I lived this way?" The three friends I have, at the moment, as a result of the time I've spent back here on the east coast the past few years, mr.Finance, mr.Fireman and mr.Recruitor, also, live very different lives than me. They all have nice houses, wives and children. I probably only talk to these guys a couple times a week, if that, and I might actually see one of them maybe once a week. The rest of the time I'm alone and sleep in my truck on this wooded property which has a couple small buildings on it. I'm not complaining! -that's my judgmental background talking. I'm just trying to look at the situation objectively. Spending 7 days a week alone except for maybe a few minutes with an acquaintance once in a while is probably something most people wouldn't do well with and I've lived like this my whole life. Getting more involved at "church" has helped a little, but I can't make it my life. Except for a few short relationships I've had, which I ended, my solution has always been to surround myself with nature because when I'm outside in the natural world I don't feel as alone especially if I'm living off the land and have a dog. Right now, I'm outside most of the time, but still trapped in suburbia, definitely not living off the land and no side-kick, at the moment. I'm afraid to get another one, even though I really want to, because then I can't jump on a plane and disappear. Wah, wah, wah. To get back to answering the question "Why?", before factoring in everything I've described so far, there's probably one more relevant ingredient.

Growing up, I was different than all my peers. I was physically a very late bloomer. I mean very. So much so that my parents took me to the hospital a number of times in my adolescence to have tests done on me. I was even offered steroids and male growth hormones to make me grow. Maybe it wasn't steroids, but just male growth hormones. I don't remember exactly what they were. I was just a kid, but I knew they were drugs and I didn't want to take them. I adamantly refused telling the doctors and my parents "No." The whole experience creeped me out. One time, my parents even lied to me about taking me to the hospital. They, especially my father, were famous for keeping secrets. Of course, they eventually had to tell me where I was going, but it was a very distrustful experience. I'm sure they meant well and I was lucky to even have parents and doctors offering to "help" me, but I wasn't asking for help. I never once complained about my size. In fact, I sort of liked it. It was fun. The problem was that I was a reflection of their fears, insecurities and judgment. I liked who I was. Well, I did until they eventually wore me down and convinced me that I shouldn't. Before all this, I was a wild and confident kid. I ruled the school with a few of my friends, was friends with all the prettiest girls and even protected less popular kids when they were picked on. I was having a blast in life. I eventually rebounded from this difficult period when I broke away from my parents and the world that they represented in my early 20's regaining all the confidence and sense of adventure I had as a boy. It was the best feeling in the world to get back to who I was, but being such a late bloomer did put me in a different category.

When I was in high school, it wasn't easy to survive. School for a lot of kids is very much like Lord of the Flies. There are adults around, but most of them are asleep at the wheel. The popular crowd was a very cut throat world in suburbia when I had no one watching my back and not as much money as most of them, not to mention I was half the size of everyone, including the girls, but I survived it, barely. But because I wasn't doing what my peers were doing, dating, having sex and getting into fights, it gave me time to look around at the world and see where we were, all, headed and I questioned it. Don't get me wrong. I was obsessed with girls just as much as my friends, but completely petrified of intimacy not having all the physical urges that come along with puberty like everyone else. I'm not proud to admit that I didn't absolve from fighting completely, but I did, however, see the pointlessness of it. Because I was still a little kid surrounded by young men and women, I wasn't preoccupied with all the drama that goes along with this stuff so, again, I looked to the natural world for answers and solace.

When mother nature finally did kick in and I started to grow, I only had one more year of college left. It was like someone had ignited a rocket ship that had been sitting on the deck waiting for take off for many years. Blast off. I went from almost failing out of college to graduating with straight A's. My body turned into an action figure with muscles and a cool frame. I felt like I'd hit the lottery. My faith in Mother Nature had payed off which strengthened my loyalty and allegiance to the natural world even more, but when I applied everything I'd learned in the meantime to the world I was, now, about to enter I wasn't going to compromise my beliefs. I, now, understand that because my friends had never had those different experiences that I had during adolescence, they were full steam ahead on the road most traveled never doubting what they were signing up for by agreeing to play a rigged game because they always won the games they played. I could relate to this "winner" attitude because I was once like them, but I couldn't forget the difficult times I'd had when there was no one to talk to and no where to turn. I already knew for a fact that the system didn't work and there was no way I was going along with it. I'd just make my own way and blaze a new path believing whole-heartedly in my abilities. The major difference between me and the guys I knew was that they didn't question anything and I questioned everything. They didn't need to question it. They were used to winning. Sometimes they had to push harder to get through an obstacle, but it always worked so why question it? I thought like this, too, but I was applying it to a very different playing field and I was trying to do it completely alone. On the day of graduation from college, I dropped off a couple friends at the campus and while everyone was walking across the grass to take their seats, I was the only car driving off in the opposite direction. I skipped the ceremony and hit the road. Destination unknown, but my life was mine.

It was definitely a little scary and stressful at times flying without a net, but we're humans and we can get used to anything, good or bad, easy or difficult, especially if there's no one around to give you a second opinion. I had plenty of success, but when there came a point when I'd need to compromise my beliefs and there always would be, I never would. No job, no relationship, no place, no opportunity of any kind could ever get me to go against what I knew was right. Why? Because all I had was what I knew was right. There was nothing else. I couldn't give this up. I'd be lost without it. I was a one-legged table. Take the one thing I had to stand on away from me and I'd be falling into the abyss. This happened a few times when I was knocked over unexpectedly usually by a romantic relationship and it almost killed me, but oxygen continued to enter my lungs and I somehow survived. It's easy to see, now, that because I didn't have a close family and never new what love and affection felt like (hence loving animals so much, especially big powerful ones) that losing a girlfriend who once smothered me with physical touch and female attention was so devastating even though it was my unwillingness to compromise my beliefs that ended the relationships. I was so stubborn and blind.

So these are all the circumstances that have landed me here, still alone, still free, still healthy, but with no where to go and no one to belong to. I know it wouldn't take much for me to go from miserably alone to flying high, but it hasn't happened, yet. Not here. I've learned a lot and there have been short intervals over the years when I was a little more connected to others, but nothing even close to consistent or permanent. And, yes, my stubborn beliefs are still in full force, but I've gained a mountain of knowledge on how to implement them in a natural way without being so militant about my adherence to them. I just need to find a place and reason why I should.

May 11, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
Well, I knew it would happen and it has. This dork is finally flying high. I'm still here and I still don't like it here, but I turned the corner on enough projects, i.e. made enough money, that I'm no longer white-knuckling it just to make it through the day. Now, I'm floating and smiling most of the time. I still need to learn how to say "no" because I keep finding myself doing a lot of favors for a lot of people. This is just a side-affect of not having much of a social life so when someone asks me to "help" them, I see it as an opportunity to spend time with another person and they see it as an opportunity to get some work out of me, work I end up doing by myself for them, but I'm getting better at catching this little trick. I've got to fix a riding lawnmower for one friend, put a boat in the water for another and clean out a French drain for one more person then I'll really be free. They all end up throwing me some cash so it's not like they're taking advantage of me. There's just too many of them and only one of me so if I don't learn to say "no" I'll never have any time to work on my own projects. If I need money, I can just pump out some more raised bed boxes.

The million dollar question is "What's next?" What would a true free spirit do?

May 16, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I rode my old bicycle down to the corner and got an ice cream cone after I finished working at the end of the day, yesterday. There's a little sandwich shop with an ice cream window attached where the suburban road that the property is on meets a main road which is sort of convenient. I've only eaten there once, but it's nice to have something so close. I was jamming out to some music and one of my earbuds fell out just before I pulled back onto my dirt driveway and got caught in the rear wheel of the bike. They weren't the cordless bluetooth kind. I have a pair of those, too, but I rarely use them. I decided that I don't think it's a good idea to stick a AAA battery in my ear and discharge it so close to my brain which is basically what a cordless airbud is. I can't image that's very healthy for us. I'll just suffer with the old school wire ones and be more careful when I'm pedaling one-handed trying to keep melting ice cream from running down my arm. The gears of the bike ripped one of the buds right off, but being in a good mood, I spliced it back together after I finished eating my black raspberry cone with jimmies. All it took was a razor knife, a lighter (to burn off the insulation of the inner wires) and a tiny piece of black tape. They work fine, again, but I bought an extra pair, today, just to have as a back up. I, also, ordered a solar charge controller for my solar system which should be completed soon. The little backpack panels I use on hikes are great for my phone, but not quite strong enough to charge this laptop that I'm typing on so I've had to use it sparingly all winter and charge it with my truck's cigarette lighter when I'm out doing errands which works pretty good, but it will be nice to write at my leisure without worrying that the battery will eventually run out.

May 17, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I could run a marathon, right now. Well, I shouldn't say that. For someone who's walked 30 miles a day for months at a time, I should know better than to make exorbitant statements, but my cup is running over a lot these days and I have an abundance of energy. I've been dancing a lot. In the workshop, in the yard, in the bunkhouse. I still have plenty of hard times that come along with living in the world alone especially with the job the media and government are doing to under mind a person's attempt to see the world as a safe and stable place. Ok, let's dial it a back a little. This is supposed to be an acknowledgment of how great things are going. The warm weather is here, I'm healthy, I'm not broke, I've got a few casual buddies in my life and I'm free. I thought about heading out, tonight. Maybe do a couple errands then grab some dinner somewhere, but I stopped myself. Consumption is not a form of expression and expressing oneself when a person feels great is what we're naturally compelled to do, not simply fill our faces. This is when a girlfriend would come in handy. We could go for a moon-lit walk. There was a lunar eclipse two nights ago. That was really beautiful. I used my binoculars and could see it even better. The moon turned a reddish orange color hence the expression blood moon.

I suppose writing is a passive form of expression, for what it's worth. I was tempted to keep working right up until dark and pull the sailboat out of its winter parking spot, take the cover off and start getting it ready for summer, but I noticed that I should mow the grass by the bunkhouse, first, where I plan to park the boat to work on it. However, I pulled the spark plug and air filter out of mr.Recruitor's riding lawnmower that I just finished fixing, this afternoon, to get new ones while I still have it here so it's not usable, at the moment. Plus, I decided that I'll pull the blades off it, tomorrow, and sharpen them so I might as well wait and cut the grass with newly sharpened blades.

I could watch a movie, but that's lame. I used to be a movie junkie up until last winter when my laptop's dvd player stopped working and I never got a new one. I even considered it, yesterday, while I was getting a couple things at target. A new external dvd player for a laptop is only like 20 bucks, but I kind of like that I've weaned myself off of movies. There's a lot more productive and useful things to do with my time. I'll think of something. There's nothing wrong with just savoring the moment, for now. It's been a long road getting here.

May 18, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I parked my truck at the bottom of mr.Recruitor's driveway in Plymouth and unloaded his riding lawnmower. He lives at the top of a steep hill so I thought it'd be funny if I pulled up to his house on the lawnmower. I texted him a few minutes beforehand to tell him that I was in the area and might stop by. He was at his youngest son's baseball game which was even better because I knew he was going to try to pay me if he was there, hence not giving him much notice that I was coming. I didn't want any money. His wife and older son (16) were home and saw me coming up the driveway through the big picture window in the front of the house and laughed.

One more obligation and I'm a free man. I put my other friend's boat in on Friday so all I have left is the French drain at my father's to finish and then I can look to the horizon without any obstacles in the way. I worked on my father's yard last weekend and made some progress, but hopefully one more day and I'll get it done. My older brother was there and came out and asked me a lot of questions about what I was doing and then went back inside. I don't know what he does all day. He doesn't have a job, yet drives a fancy mercedes convertible. He told me to let him know if I needed a hand with anything, but I didn't really need any help so I never asked. It's a little confusing to me how different we are. I was working on our father's yard and he lives there. Why should I have to ask? No one asked me to do what I was doing. I saw that the grass was muddy and water was running down the driveway so I knew the drainage pipe must be clogged. It wasn't going to unclog itself. I mowed the lawn, too, while I was there because the dandelions were over a foot high. I've been on my own for so long that maybe I don't see things the way I should. No one showed me how to fix a riding lawnmower. I taught myself like everything else I know how to do because it was a matter of survival. Useful people with initiative find work. Lazy useless people don't. I needed a job wherever I went.

When I left a different friend's house about a week ago after helping her with the grape vines over her pergola, I didn't let her pay me either. It ended up being a two day job because she added on a little weeding and mulching around her pool. Originally, she ask for my "help" because she wanted to increase her grape yield and knows that I'm a farmer. Plus, she's recovering from a broken wrist and her boyfriend just had foot surgery so, of course, I was willing to help, but she was upset that I left without letting her pay me and tracked me down at church a few days later and stuffed a bunch of money in my pocket as I was talking to someone else. I'm sure mr.Recruitor will try to do the same thing. Well, hopefully not the reaching into my pants pocket part. I like being helpful, but I'll be honest. I hated most of these projects and I, now, realize why. There's two reasons. The first is the obvious one which is because they keep me alone. I'm still working by myself like I always am, but I'm working on someone else's stuff while neglecting my own. If I wasn't sleeping in my truck every night and had a little more domestic stability like a kitchen to prepare meals in or a bathroom to take showers in then maybe postponing some things I should be working on wouldn't be that big of a deal. The other reason is when I say "yes" to more than one favor, I get stressed out about postponing one in order to complete another. It's almost like I can feel the impatience of each individual building up inside me whether it's real or imagined. I'm sure someone who runs their own business knows exactly what I'm talking about.

I stopped by mr.Finance's house on the way home, last night, to help work on his boat with him and his boys. That was fun because I was literally just helping. We were doing it together then we ate some subs and watched a little hockey on tv. I have two major mottoes in life which are "They know not what they do" and "It ends with me." I know not what I do just as much as the next person which is why this adage is not about judgment, but rather forgiveness and acceptance and we, ALL, need plenty of this. It, also, reminds me of the 2nd Agreement in Don Miguel Ruiz 's book which is to never take anything personal, good or bad. And as far as making sure that any negative energy ends with me, trying to live according to this belief allows us to single-handedly make the world a better place one small incident at a time. Energy is cyclical and when we stop the pattern of negative feelings by refusing to blame, judge or lash out at others, we are putting a stop to this particular negative energy's life cycle.

May 22, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
It was close to 90 degrees out, but my fingertips were numb with cold by the time I made it back to the bunkhouse, this evening. I spent the entire day on the property. Blazed a short trail down to the creek where it's deepest, assembled a bed for the bunkhouse from scrap wood in the shop, moved a huge brush pile and cut up an old fallen tree into rounds to burn next winter (not that there's any guarantee I'll be here then). To celebrate a quiet, yet productive day, I rode the old bike down to the ice cream shop, again. I opted to use my bluetooth earbuds, this time, so I wouldn't break another pair of headphones. It's less than a 5 min. ride so I figured using them for that long won't kill me. The fact that they're cordless definitely made it a less cumbersome undertaking for the one-handed return trip, but, unfortunately, about 2/3 of the way back, this time, my double-scooped strawberry with jimmies cone toppled off its perch. I thought I was doing an excellent job of staying on top of the situation by licking continuously as I pedaled, but the 90 degree weather had other plans and created a creamy landslide that I couldn't prevent. Luckily, I caught the mound of cold mush with the same hand I was holding the cone with. It wasn't pretty, but I kept licking (I had washed my hands after I finished working). I wasn't going to lose my end of the day reward without a fight. With the cone sticking out sideways and strawberry ice cream running through my fingers, I continued to eat my treat like one would a handful of snow they just scooped off the ground after a winter storm. To my surprise and despite the hot temperatures, it felt like frost bite was setting in by the time I made it down the wooded driveway to the bunkhouse where I ditched the bike, ran inside, dropped the beheaded remains of frosty the strawberry snowman into a cereal bowl and rinsed my hand under the room temperature water from the ceramic dispenser that doubles as my kitchen faucet. Having lived in Alaska, I'm no stranger to cold, but that was impressive how quickly the melting ice cream affected my epidermis. Catastrophe averted. I reassembled the cone from the bowl and resumed my enjoyment.

Six of the guys from church came by, yesterday, and we sat around the new fire pit that mr.Finance and I had thrown together with big rocks we collected from the property earlier in the afternoon. He had stopped by after visiting his mother at the nursing home which is just down the road from the property to find me out back loading rocks into my truck, but it didn't take much coaxing to get him to quickly finish what we were doing, drive to his house, hook on his boat and get it in the water for the season. He's been talking about how eager he's been to do so for weeks. We took it for a quick test ride and were back at the property before the guys showed up which was mr.Recruitor's idea, who brought a stack of pizzas. We had a lot of laughs and some serious talk, too. A tattooed covered heavy equipment operator, a New York city stock broker turned school teacher, a man who's driver's license has been permanently revoked who, now, runs a sober living house, the list went on. One might say we were a rough looking lot to be considered spiritual men, but I've, also, heard it said that "Religion is for people afraid to go to hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there."

This evening after dark and a quick bath, I walked outside with my headlamp to put away the remainder of my tools. Then I remembered that I had left my hatchet for chopping kindling over by the fire pit so I walked over to grab it. The spot I had selected is a small open area beside the old cranberry bog that borders the driveway after it passes the bunkhouse and out of the wooded area onto a long a grassy strip of land the divides the woods from the bog. I went back inside placed the hatchet on the chopping block by the wood stove, grabbed a chair and carried it back out to the fire pit and just sat there for a while in the dark. The fire flies were out in full force out sparkling the stars on this slightly overcast night. I imagined what it must have been like to be a young Native American child watching the magical light show created by these tiny flying creatures.

After I'd been sitting there for a few minutes, they seemed to be swirling all around me as well as out across the acre of air over the bog. I thought to myself "This is probably as happy as one person can be." I'll spend my first night indoors on a bed in the bunkhouse. I have no electricity or running water. I live a very different life from the guys who all have families and I know mr.Recruitor is actively trying to get me to stick around since he's gotten to know me and learned how prone I am to take off either when the going gets bad or when the going gets good, but I'm here, at the moment. What little money I've accumulated this spring won't last forever so I need to keep building stuff and selling it, but whatever I make will never be enough to start a family with or even stay single and live like a "normal" person. At least, I know this isn't because there's something wrong with me. It's this system that's messed up and I've never been one who subscribes to the notion that "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." I'll never do that so it'll be interesting how I handle yet another opportunity to take moment, regroup and decide how I'm going to go about trying to function in this world without compromising what I know is right. We shall see. On the inside, I'm already there. On the outside, for now, I'm enjoying what I can. When the "I" that I constantly begin every sentence with becomes "we", maybe that will be the deciding factor.

June 18, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I better write a new entry. Weeks have been going by and things are happening in my life and in the world which are beginning to pile up. I had to take a break from writing to process what's been going on in the country. The school shootings are very disturbing, but what the media does with them is just as unnerving. A fight breaks out in front of a city night club late at night and a couple people get shot then the news calls it a "mass" shooting. This is not helping. It's terrorizing normal people while promoting the idea of shooting innocent people into the minds of mentally unstable individuals, all of which seem to be young man who are barely old enough to be considered adults. The suspect in the Buffalo supermarket shooting which was not a school, but just as horrific was only 18. Who do you think is putting these ideas in these young men's heads? The media! Look up the definition of "promotion" and it sums it all up.

1. activity that supports or provides active encouragement for the futherance of a cause, venture, or aim.
2. the publicization of a product, organization, or venture so as to increase sales or public awareness.

Any advertising or marketing professional knows all too well that it's about repetition in order to drive an idea into people's heads. And, any PR agent will tell a client, like an actor or musician, that "Negative press is just as good as positive press. It keeps people thinking and talking about you." This is what the media is doing by sensationalizing every tragedy that occurs in our country. It's out of control and adding to the problem, if not perpetuating it.

I was dog-sitting for a friend a week or so ago and happened to turn on their tv to maybe watch something as kind of a treat seeing as I haven't owned a tv in 20 years. It seemed like every other show had either the word "murder" or "kill" in the title. Our culture has become sick. It bombards people, especially young impressionable people, with these ideas then it turns around and acts shocked when these young people perpetrate these horrible crimes. Stop promoting it! Stop giving them the attention that they're seeking. How many video games that involve shooting and killing people did they play growing up? Where are these children's parents? If their parents fail them, what is our culture teaching them? The lack of values and strong communities are the problem and what are we, as a people, doing about it? Maybe it's time we stop expecting someone else to fix the problems that we are allowing to persist.

June 19, 2022, Kingston, Massachusetts
I'm in a holding pattern. The transfer case (part of the transmission) on my truck blew on Wednesday. I was all loaded up and heading to VT, but I hadn't gotten far so I nursed it back to the property, pulled the rear and front driveshafts off then removed the transfer case. When I drained the fluid, I could see big junks of metal that had collected at the bottom of the case when the drain plug was removed. Not a good sign. Found a decent used transfer case online, paid for it and sent the company two emails asking how to pick it up. It would have cost me more than the part was worth to have it shipped here, something that big and heavy (approx. 150lbs), which is why I bought it from a place that was in driving distance. When they didn't respond, I called them and the guy I spoke to told me to just bring my order# with me and I'd be all set. Got up around 5:30, the next morning, and rode my new mountain bike (new to me) to mr.Fireman's house who offered to let me borrow his car to pick up the part. It was a 12 mile bike ride, but that early in the morning it was fairly peaceful. Drove his car back to the property, put the old transfer case in the trunk to bring with me and make sure they were giving me the right part. It's always a good idea whenever possible to bring the old part with you when buying a new one to confirm it's an exact fit.

The auto parts place is in Cumberland, RI, about an hour away. I hit some traffic so it took a little longer. When I got there and gave them my order number, the guy behind the counter told me that I was too early and that it wouldn't be ready for pick up until next week. I just shook my head to myself. Getting mad at him wasn't going to change anything. He called back to the parts department just to check seeing as I was already there, but they said they didn't have it. The listing on ebay where I found the part said that local pick-up was available which is why I bought the part from them in the first place. I told him that I had called ahead of time and the person on the phone told me to just bring my order# and I'd be all set, but the guy behind the counter said that this was not how they do it. Belaboring the lack of logic behind this statement was pointless. Obviously, this was their mistake, not mine, but it didn't change the fact that I wasn't getting my part, today. He told me he'd personally call me when it was ready next week and I left. I thought about looking for a different transfer case within the radius of distance that I'd just driven because I could probably find one, but getting this company to give me my money back would no doubt be just as much of a hassle as getting my part has turned out to be and I didn't want to complicate my friend's life by using his car longer than expected. When I texted him about their incompetence, he told me that he didn't need the car for the weekend. He has his truck and he just uses the car to drive into Boston for work to save on gas, but he wasn't working til Mon. If I hadn't sold my own gas-saver this winter, I probably would have looked for another transfer case in my own vehicle, but I decided not to complicate the situation anymore than it was.

On principle, I will contact the company to hold them accountable for giving me false information. They're a national company and it seems to be more common, these days, for bigger companies to just say "Oh well" when they make a mistake that inconveniences a customer and this is not an acceptable trend. Regardless of the outcome, not doing anything won't improve anything. It wasn't the guy's fault at the actual location. If you saw the other customers he was trying to deal with and the atmosphere of the place, I doubt you'd want to make his day any worse than it already was, either, but, in hindsight, I should have, at least, emphasized to him that the company representative who I spoke to shouldn't be giving out wrong information. I'll deal with them directly. In the meantime, I'll work on other projects here at the property until I hear from them. I've realized that a big part of my anxiousness stems from my desire to leave this part of the country. After my near death accident last fall, the message that God, for lack of a better word, seems to be trying to tell me is that I need to stop living like I have. It almost felt like this was my final warning. I've had some pretty close calls over the years that I've walked away from completely unscathed, but a person's luck will only last so long. Setting out blindly on foot across America sleeping in the woods in the country and under bridges in the city year after year, it's amazing I never ran into any trouble. Evolving into traveling in a vehicle has been a little safer, but it's not how a person is supposed to live. It was just the lesser of two evils, to me. The end destination has always been the same during this entire time, to live off the land with a group of people who want to live in harmony with nature, too.

This is what my friend in VT says she wants to create, but she needs people like me to help her do it. She's a city girl from NYC with a vision who fell into some money to buy the land. I'm a country boy with a lot of experience that's never been able to make enough to buy my own. I'm crazy to just offer up all this experience and hard work that it's going to require to create such a place for free, but money's never been a motivating factor for me. Why should I let it stop me, now? The land isn't exactly what I would have bought, but holding out for perfect has kept me alone still fighting for survival. Maybe it's time, I put my money where my mouth is....or where my back is because that's what it's going to take to create it. She has another friend there, now, and she's been excited for he and I to meet. I've been interested in meeting him, too. Having another guy to work with will hopefully make it more enjoyable. She's willing to work, too, and says she knows other people, girls and guys, who, also, want to help, but no one has showed up to do so, yet. I've been trying to do it alone all my life and this needs to stop. It wasn't my choice. It was my predicament, but it doesn't have to be. We'll see.

This is not a work of fiction. However, names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.